So colorful! There’ll hardly be a color that cannot be found on the boats there.
What would you like to go for ? …bananas, mangoes, oranges, any other thai fruits, stir-fried noodles, whole meals, fresh coconut water, delicious desserts, flowers, antiques, souvenirs, caps, bags, clothes… and what not! You name it.. they have it! Go for the unique experience of shopping and dining on the waters… a completely exceptional experience! Enjoy the difference! You gotta do it at least once just for the taste of it! So, go for it!
Anyone who’s spent even a few hours in Thailand will tell you that not only is the food amazing but also that it’s hard to walk a few minutes in any direction without bumping into someone selling something savory. One can almost say the same about Bangkok’s waterways: there are many floating markets in Bangkok and the surrounding provinces that are well worth visiting, and if you’re in a boat, you’ll run into them here and there.
In the West, shoppers are advised to eat before going to the supermarket. The opposite is true when visiting a floating market – half the enjoyment is floating around in your boat, buying some fruit at one place, some coconut milk at another, and maybe a chicken curry or rice congee at yet another. No one leaves hungry and the boat is noticeably heavier when it returns than when it set out.
There are many floating markets to choose from, with some larger and better known than others. Many tours take visitors to these markets every day, so you won’t have trouble arranging a visit while in Bangkok. Be sure to take your camera, as you’ll want to share your experience with friends and family back home who have never been to Bangkok, the “Venice of the East.”
These markets came to life in earlier times when living and traveling on the canals and waterways were much more a part of everyday life. Although some are still functioning as they always have for locals, others have developed and transformed themselves more into tourist attractions.
The main floating markets that are visited include the famous and iconic Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and the less visited yet equally fascinating Taling Chan Market, Amphawa Market, Sai Nai, Khu Wiang, and Bang Nam Pheung floating markets.
The ever-popular Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is located in Ratchaburi Province, about 100 kms south of Bangkok. This is the market to hit if you’re looking to shoot your own picture postcard perfect photo of one of the symbols of Thailand. Buses leave every forty minutes from the Southern Bus Terminal if you want to travel in local style.
As with most of these markets, you’re well-advised to get there early – around sunrise is actually the perfect time, while it’s still cool, and before many visitors, or tourist buses, arrive, especially in the case of Damnoen Saduak.
If you’re not an early bird, and don’t enjoy crowds so much, then Amphawa may be the floating market for you. You could even stay in this area in a floating house or homestay if you really want to experience the old, riverine lifestyle. Amphawa is about 90 minutes from Bangkok, and the market, open Fridays through Sundays, is best-visited between about 4 and 8 pm.
Within Bangkok’s city limits, but small and quiet compared to the previous two markets, Taling Chan is open only on Sunday mornings. Taling Chan is a much more traditional Thai market and caters largely to locals; therefore, it is in many ways a more authentic Thai experience, including the relaxed, subdued nature of the place.
There are two floating markets in Nonthaburi Province, just north of Bangkok: Sai Nai and Khu Wiang. These are worth getting up early to check out, which means heading out to them right after breakfast. Be sure to do your homework as many markets are in fact weekend-only markets, such as Khu Wiang, which means Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Outside the city limits you’ll find a variety of floating markets including several in Samut Songkram: Tha Kha, Amphawa (mentioned above), and the newer Bang Nam Pheung Floating Market. Nakhon Pathom features Don Wai and Lumphaya Floating Markets, while Pattaya has the well-developed Four Regions Floating Market.
Both Ayuttaya and Hua Hin have also opened large, attractive floating markets aimed squarely at the tourist market, both Thai and foreign. These more modern markets have developed into full-blown shopping and entertainment venues, with floating markets at their heart.
Though perhaps not for those seeking the humble maritime markets of yore, do not rule out these modern incarnations – they are exciting, fascinating places with something for everyone, be it music, massage, rides, shopping, and especially lots of delicious Thai food.
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